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101  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting "stuff" on: June 21, 2014, 02:48:44 PM
@40hz: Interesting find! Thanks for sharing.
Building is as depressing as Ozymandias...
102  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: June 21, 2014, 02:40:08 PM
@Giampy: Yes, British summers can often seem to be no more than just a fleeting memory, though sometimes - admittedly not often - they could be long and sultry.
103  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: TrueCrypt alternative on: June 21, 2014, 02:21:19 PM

I reckon that is a valid point, and if you follow it to a logical conclusion, then one conclusion you could end up with is Microsoft BitLocker being arguably the only safe/stable encryption tool for the Windows OSes. That might be OK if you could trust Microsoft, but Microsoft's own actions would seem to have demonstrated that there is no rational basis for such trust - quite the opposite, in fact.
Not exactly.  If you find an encryption tool that's valid for your current OS, then it should be valid up until the point that you change OS.  And you can take steps before you change to see (a) if that particular software supports your new OS before you install it, and (b) if not, find another and switch.

Not sure I understand you there. Are you trying to say that the argument:
Quote
if you follow it to a logical conclusion, then one conclusion you could end up with is Microsoft BitLocker being arguably the only safe/stable encryption tool for the Windows OSes.
- is incorrect?
104  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: TrueCrypt alternative on: June 21, 2014, 02:09:11 PM
@40hz: Though I am a bit rusty now, I don't think it will have changed much in UK Company law since I studied it years ago, where I recall that the link to any implicit obligation for financial performance is from the shareholders via the Articles of Association which is the document created when a company is initially formed. In short, the Articles are the legal means by which the shareholders may exercise control over the day-to-day operation of the company by the Board of Directors. In a for-profit company, the shareholders will require annual profitability and growth, and can/will turf out Board members who do not demonstrate an ability to meet or successfully pull the company towards those objectives.
They can do this via the mechanism of special or annual general meetings, where they can also confirm/re-elect well-performing directors, to retain them for another year/term, and elect new/additional directors, and vote on various proposed resolutions on the published AGM agenda.

The ROI for the "A" ordinary shareholders (i.e., those with voting shares entitling them to vote in the AGM) would usually be a combination of actual dividend/interest paid on their stocks (or accrued/retained) and the growth in market value of the share price. The shares have a nominal value, which will tend to be exceeded by the market value if the company is profitable. Other stockholders - e.g., "B" ordinary shareholders (non-voting), and debenture holders and preference shareholders, may have slightly different objectives for ROI peculiar to their stakeholding, but they will all share the common objective of making a profit out of their stakeholdings.

I thus must admit to a certain confusion when considering the notion of (say) running a FP (for-profit) company as though it were NFP (not-for-profit), since the idea itself would be absurd, the company would soon be wound up or need to have its Articles and tax status changed appropriately - a NFP would generally have different purposes, Articles and governance structure to a FP company.

I certainly do not consider myself an authority, and what I say generally comes from narrow but mixed experience including having previously been a chief accountant for a UK company, involved as an accountant in setting-up several small FP companies in the UK, acting pro bono as an accounting systems advisor to a leprosy charity based in the UK, acting as a tax accountant to a UK property company, having reported to a director on the board of a syndicated multi-bank off-balance-sheet banking subsidiary in Australasia, and being a director of two companies at present in Australasia, and from having also been a director on the board of the UK charitable trust for an international educational organisation based in Europe.

So, with that narrow experience, I would not be able to state definitively what the law might be relating to Apple or any other US corporation. Where I mainly got my information from in that regard was from a study of the history of the '80s corporate collapse syndrome in US and Germany, and from doing some research in 2004 after watching the fascinating documentary "The Corporation". It was the latter that led me to understand that US (and I think it included Canadian) corporations were different to UK companies in that they had some kind of an explicit legal objective to operate to maximise legally-earned profits and which thus encouraged/compelled management behaviours that could effectively sometimes make them operate as "corporate psychopaths" (which concept has been discussed quite a bit, elsewhere in the DC Forum). I regret if I was mistaken or if I took what the documentary talked about at face value and did not think to verify what the relevant US/Canadian company law actually was. I shall have to do some more homework now.    embarassed
105  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: TrueCrypt alternative on: June 21, 2014, 02:01:35 AM
...Just because it seems to work when you encrypt it now, there's no guarantee that it won't stop working if they don't support the OS.  They presumably say that for some reason...
I reckon that is a valid point, and if you follow it to a logical conclusion, then one conclusion you could end up with is Microsoft BitLocker being arguably the only safe/stable encryption tool for the Windows OSes. That might be OK if you could trust Microsoft, but Microsoft's own actions would seem to have demonstrated that there is no rational basis for such trust - quite the opposite, in fact.

For example - DRM:
  • Microsoft kinda showed their colours in that regard when they unilaterally decided to embed the functionality of proprietary DRM (Digital Rights Management) into the otherwise apparently excellent WMP (Windows Media Player) several years ago, and then proceeded to cement that into the works right up until the present day. WMP will thus apparently refuse/disable playing of any music/media file that has a dodgy DRM key, and also it wants to phone home an awful lot, passing on goodness-knows-what information about one's media collection and PC to Big Brother's Head Office. A sort of electronic form of Brownshirt or one of Mao's card-carrying child revolutionaries. How could one trust that?

  • Why was Microsoft doing that? Presumably it hadn't been because the users were clamouring for DRM, but because MS had concluded a deal with the **AA to have DRM policing embedded into the OS for every PC as much as possible, for which MS would probably receive monies on some kind of a fee scale. From that perspective, and instigated so many years ago, it would seem to have been a very far-sighted move, and you can bet that the **AA probably didn't dream it up but had to be persuaded of its merit by a third party (i.e., MS).

For example - Stacker:
In the area of disk compression (and some encryption), MS arguably demonstrated its true colours in the '80s - refer:

Can MS be trusted not to behave like this in the future? Probably not.
The general rule would be that a good corporate psychopath - e.g., including such as Microsoft or Google - is a leopard that cannot change its spots, by law and as a legal person, and it would be irrational to expect it to do so, regardless of any corporate propaganda, hype or BS to the contrary (e.g., Google's reported "Do no evil").

There are some (a few) notable exceptions to that general rule that I am aware of, including:
  • Cadbury - founders were philanthropic Quakers.
  • CDC (Control Data Corporation) - founder was philanthropic.
- but this would be (or was) only true whilst they were still under the chairmanship of their philanthropic/Quaker founding presidents/families. However, CDC and Cadbury arguably would not have properly fitted the definition of being "a good corporate psychopath" in any event.
And then there was this curious statement from Apple's CEO:
Quote
He didn't stop there, however, as he looked directly at the NCPPR representative and said, "If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock."
So, we know that the motivation is probably not philanthropy (QED - by their own marketing behaviour and the apparently confirmed reports of Apple's use of slave/sweatshop labour in Asian countries), and now we know (or are being told, apparently) that it's not always ROI - so what is it? The inescapable conclusion would seem to be that it could well be (in this case, at least) for religio-political ideological reasons. But that would be incredible - because Apple is an incorporated, for-profit legal person and is obliged to act in that regard at all times.
Thus it is more likely to be driven by the usual cynical corporate psychopathy, which in this case would be to make itself appealing to the huge financial backing of a large green/environmental investment lobby, which has taken on the definite shape of an investment cartel. So Apple's CEO is more likely just a very smart businessman and was dissembling, and he will be acting to increase ROI, since you can't fault investment in green/environmental can you - especially if it is a policy that is backed by the US government?
(Whoops! Did somebody just say "Solyndra"?)
But any sensible investor (those who matter, at any rate) would have known this and would have seen the CEO's statement for what it was - a clever response to appeal to that large green/environmental investment lobby/cartel.

So who can one trust for honesty and ethical integrity in the development of encryption technology? At this point, I would have said "TrueCrypt". (Ostensibly public domain, open technology, not-for-profit.)
Hmm, tricky.
106  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service on: June 20, 2014, 09:14:00 PM
...I kind of just wish SHTF would hurry up so that the corrupt roots can get pulled up and we can get on with rebuilding something slightly sane.
_______________________
Amazing. And what exactly do you think happened that led up to the creation of the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution, and then the current US state? Or, to put it another way, Mao's revolution and the current Chinese state? Or, to put it another way, etc.... (i could go on, but I won't, as you will get the general drift.)
One inference that could be drawn from all of that is that it might be difficult to distinguish/separate the "corrupt roots" from ourselves and our inherent nature as a species.
I blame it all on coming down and from the trees in the first place.
107  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: June 20, 2014, 09:19:23 AM
Quote
The only serious black mark against the NHS was its poor record on keeping people alive.
- apparently written in all seriousness in a Guardian article praising the NHS: NHS is the world's best healthcare system, report says | Society | The Guardian

(Hat tip to Samizdata quote of the day « Samizdata)
108  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Focus by view? on: June 20, 2014, 08:02:59 AM
Not sure whether this is what you are after, but it might help. If you do a DuckGo search on "computer which tracks the user's eye movements" you will come up with quite a lot of hits about this kind of technology, and where it has already been implemented.
For example:
109  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: TrueCrypt alternative on: June 20, 2014, 04:23:50 AM
Useful ideas from windowssecrets.com newsletter:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Data-encryption alternatives to TrueCrypt
By Lincoln Spector

It seems as if everyone who kept sensitive files secure did it with TrueCrypt. Edward Snowden depended on it. So did I.

But now that the popular disk-encryption app is effectively dead — at least for the foreseeable future — it's time to look for a replacement.

In last week's (June 12) Top Story, "The life and untimely demise of TrueCrypt," Susan Bradley reviewed the application's history and stated, "It's a mystery that we gave TrueCrypt such an extraordinary level of trust. It had dubious legal foundations, its developers were unknown, and its support was primarily relegated to forums that are now missing."

In this follow-up article, I'll discuss my own approach to protecting sensitive files, and I'll explain why I — unlike Susan — typically don't recommend Microsoft's BitLocker. I will recommend two file-encryption programs that might take TrueCrypt's place.

How safe is safe enough — and for what?
Let's use your home as an analogy. You probably keep your front door locked — at least at night and when you're away. You might have an alarm system or even bars on the windows. But your security system most likely doesn't match those used by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

Why? Well, for one thing, you can't afford it. But mostly, it would be overkill. Few of us have anything in our homes that would attract the sort of professional thieves who might steal a Van Gogh.

To a large extent, the same rules apply to data. It takes a lot of time and skill to crack encryption, and most criminals are looking for an easy score. Even the NSA, which has the ability to crack all but the best encryption, probably won't bother. It might soak up everyone's cellphone metadata because that's relatively easy. But it reserves the hard work for the few people of interest.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't take precautions. Going back to that house analogy, encrypting sensitive files is like locking your front door — a reasonable and generally sufficient line of defense. (And you must ensure that unprotected bits of those files don't remain on your hard drive.) You also need to protect the encryption key with a long, complex password that's extremely difficult to crack — and be wary of phishing scams and other deceits that might trick you into handing over the key.

Which files should be encrypted and where?
You don't need to encrypt every file. We'll assume that neither the NSA nor criminals are really interested in your collection of cat photos or your daughter's term papers.

Obviously, you do need to protect files containing bank statements, credit-card information, and Social Security numbers — basic data about your personal identity. But you also might want to encrypt any information that you don't want others to see — and anyone else's personal information you might possess. The simple rule: If in doubt, encrypt it.

Your work might dictate different encryption procedures. For example, a small construction company might need to encrypt just a few financial and customer files, whereas nearly every file an accountant handles probably needs encryption.

The safest place for sensitive files is on an encrypted (and fully backed-up) partition or drive. File-by-file encryption can leave temporary, unencrypted copies on the hard drive. But if every sector on the drive is encrypted, these temporary copies will be unreadable as well.

I'm partial to using a virtual drive/partition — what TrueCrypt called a volume. This is typically a single, often quite large, encrypted file. When you open it with the correct password, Windows sees it as a standard drive from which you can launch files, manage them with Windows Explorer, and so on. When you're done, you close the volume and all files inside are once again inaccessible. Temporary and "deleted" files stay within the volume, so they, too, are encrypted.

You can, of course, encrypt real partitions. In fact, you can encrypt all partitions — including C:. Booting and signing in to Windows automatically opens these encrypted, physical partitions. But if someone boots the system from a flash drive or connects your hard drive to another computer, nothing will be accessible.

Arguably, this is the safest type of data protection. Because your entire hard drive is encrypted, even Windows' swap and hibernation files are locked. But full-drive encryption has its own problems. For example, you won't be able to pull files off an unbootable system by using other boot media.

Also, with full-drive encryption, all data files are accessible whenever you're signed in to the PC. They can be stolen by a remote cyber thief via malware or by a co-worker while you're on a coffee break. By contrast, you have to consciously open an encrypted volume, which can remain locked when you're in a not-so-safe environment — such as on a public Wi-Fi network.

Bottom line: Full-drive encryption makes the most sense if you work primarily and continuously with sensitive information — as in accounting. In most cases, an encrypted partition makes more sense; it's nearly as secure as full-drive encryption and offers more flexibility. File-by-file encryption is the least secure but is worth considering if you can't use drive/partition encryption, as discussed in the May 15 Top Story, "Better data and boot security for Windows PCs," and in a follow-up in this week's LangaList Plus.

BitLocker best for corporate environments
For many, Windows' own BitLocker encryption tool is the obvious TrueCrypt replacement. Susan Bradley put it at the top of her short list, and the infamous TrueCrypt warning on the SourceForge download page provides extensive directions for setting it up.

BitLocker comes with Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise plus Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise. It can encrypt real and virtual partitions or the entire drive. In my view, BitLocker has its place — primarily when managed by a PC expert in an office scenario. BitLocker is sort of set-and-forget; non-techie office workers can simply sign in and out of Windows in the normal way without even knowing (or caring) whether their files are encrypted.

But for personal use, BitLocker's password/key system can be overly complex or confusing. For example, when you set up BitLocker, you create an unlock password. (You can also have a BitLocker-encrypted drive unlock automatically when users sign in to Windows — or they can use a smartcard or PIN.) But you must also create a separate key-recovery password that's stored on the system if the PC has a Trusted Platform Module (TPM; more info) chip, or on a flash drive if it doesn't. Setting up BitLocker on a system without a TPM chip can take some time and admin skills.

Basically, if you don't have a newer PC and an advanced version of Windows, BitLocker is simply not a viable option. For an individual maintaining his or her PC, it's just another layer of complication.

Here are two better data-encryption applications for personal PCs.

DiskCryptor: For drives and partitions
Like TrueCrypt, DiskCryptor (info) is free. It's also open-source, though I'm not as confident as I once was that being open-source is an advantage. (As Susan pointed out last week, "There's even debate whether TrueCrypt qualifies as open-source."

DiskCryptor is designed to encrypt partitions. According to the DiskCryptor site, Windows 8 isn't supported. But it seemed to work fine encrypting a separate, nonboot partition on a fully updated Win8.1 Update system.

DiskCryptor's user interface is somewhat unattractive, but it's relatively easy to figure out. The program offers industry-standard AES, Twofish, and Serpent encryptions (see Figure 1). If you're really paranoid, you can combine them, encrypting first one way and then another.
DiskCryptor encryption

Figure 1. DiskCryptor lets you combine encryption technologies for extra security.

A simple wizard helps you quickly encrypt any partition — including C:. If you encrypt C:, you'll have to enter your DiskCryptor password before Windows will load. (If C: is your only partition, you've effectively encrypted the entire drive.) Note: As with all current, third-party encryption apps, you can't use DiskCryptor on a Win8 system's boot (C:) drive that has Secure Boot enabled. For more info, see "Reader disagrees with data-encryption advice" in this week's LangaList Plus (paid content).

Although DiskCryptor doesn't support TrueCrypt-like virtual partitions, you can use a real partition for a similar result. Use Windows' Disk Management program or a third-party partition tool to create a small, separate partition for your sensitive files. Then use DiskCryptor to encrypt that partition (see Figure 2). The result is much like a TrueCrypt volume, except that it's a real partition.
DiskCryptor menu

Figure 2. DiskCryptor's main menu for managing drive encryption

But using a real partition has some disadvantages. For example, the encrypted partition is clearly visible in Windows' Disk Management, though it's labeled as unformatted.

And backups can be tricky. The only way to back up the files when the partition is closed is with image-backup software. Using the default settings for EaseUS Todo Backup resulted in an error message, as shown in Figure 3. After selecting the sector-by-sector backup option, both the backup and the restore worked.
EaseUS Todo Backup

Figure 3. Backing up an encrypted partition with EaseUS default settings generated with an error message.

You can also open the partition and use a conventional file-backup program. But make sure it's one that has its own built-in encryption to secure your files.

On the other hand, backup is very simple with a virtual partition, which to Windows is simply another (really big) file. Keep the file in a standard folder — such as Documents — and it'll get backed up automatically and regularly.

Cryptainer LE: The tool for virtual partitions
If, like me, you prefer a virtual partition, Cryptainer LE (also called Cypherix LE; site) is the better option. The free version doesn't let you create a volume greater than 100MB (see Figure 4), but if you're judicious about what you encrypt, it might be enough.

And if it isn't enough, you can shell out U.S. $30 and get Cryptainer ME, which comes with a 2.5GB-file limit. Shell out $70, and you can create terabyte-sized volumes. But if you're going that big, you may as well encrypt the whole drive.
Cryptainer volume

Figure 4. The free Cryptainer LE lets you set up small encrypted volumes.

Cryptainer is easy to set up and use; the buttons are big and colorful, and — more importantly — they're easy to understand. Tabs help you use and control multiple volumes (see Figure 5).
Cryptainer main menu

Figure 5. Cryptainer LE has a simple menu system for creating and managing encrypted volumes.

When you set up a volume, the free version appears to offer AES 256-bit and Blowfish 488-bit encryption — but you actually get only 128-bit Blowfish. Again, for most people, that's sufficient. Blowfish 488-bit and AES 256-bit encryption are, obviously, enabled in the paid versions.

The choice: Stay with TrueCrypt or move on
If you don't already have TrueCrypt, either DiskCryptor or Cryptainer should do; it just depends on how you prefer to work with encrypted files. (Or, if your encryption needs are relatively simple, use file-by-file encryption as detailed in the May 15 Top Story.)

On the other hand, if you're already using TrueCrypt, you can probably stick with it — at least for a while. As Susan pointed out, a formal code review of TrueCrypt showed that it "does not have any back doors and still provides secure encryption that can't be easily cracked." (Note: There's still a downloadable version of TrueCrypt, but it's read-only — i.e., you can open encrypted volumes to remove files, but you can't create new ones.)

Currently, I'm still using TrueCrypt. But I don't know for how long. TrueCrypt, like many other public encryption applications, can be cracked with some effort and the right tools. With no updates, it might become more vulnerable over time. If a new version of TrueCrypt doesn't rise from the ashes relatively soon, I'll seriously consider moving over to Cryptainer LE or ME.
110  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Switzerland-based ProtonMail, yet another secure email service on: June 20, 2014, 02:45:52 AM
I received the same email (circular) from ProtonMail as @wraith808 has apparently received.
The email basically seems to be indirectly advising that there are now strings attached to the acceptance of your request to join ProtonMail.
I'd recommend a healthy dose of skepticism. From experience, introducing/attaching such strings at a late stage, where there were no such strings before, is something that can often precede the execution of a con trick.
111  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: TrueCrypt alternative on: June 20, 2014, 02:32:06 AM
@Midnight Rambler: Thanks for that info.
112  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: June 18, 2014, 09:57:02 AM
@TaoPhoenix: Yes, ain't the Internet grand!? I too am learning a lot about the US and other countries - things that I probably would not have been permitted to learn if we were still in the absolute thrall of big media/MSM.
I am an exiled Pom and a paper Kiwi, having immigrated to NZ some years back. When I first came to NZ it was like going into a permanent news blackout on international affairs, as the media were (still are to a greater extent) so hopelessly naive and parochial. (There's a word for that, but I can't recall it just now). There also now seems to be almost a complete absence of good investigative journalism, whereas when I first came here there were at least some quite good examples of investigative journalism, but they all seemed to get shut down.
113  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Antilock-breaking (ABS) vs Stabilty Control (ESP) vs Traction Control Video on: June 18, 2014, 09:14:50 AM
Anything I wrote above was based on the assumption that the ABS was fitted correctly and working properly.
However, I was alarmed to read in GM Recalls: How General Motors Silenced a Whistle-Blower:
Quote
...In May of that year, Kelley told lawyers, the audit found three problems, including a vehicle in Flint, Mich., with its antilock brakes improperly attached and a vehicle in Lansing with a fuel leak. McAleer’s lawsuit claimed that as much as 1 percent of all vehicles manufactured by GM during the 1999 model year could be defective, or more than 30,000 North American cars and trucks. ...
(My emphasis.)
Apart from the ABS problem, a 1% defective/unsafe ratio in car manufacture would seem to be a shockingly bad record. Furthermore, reading the article, one would probably have no way of knowing for certain whether they had fixed their QC processes, or just continued to bury the issue.
I'd think carefully before buying a car from that manufacturer, new or second-hand, without doing quite a bit of independent research first and giving the vehicle a complete independent AA safety inspection and certification before accepting delivery. Being paranoid about car safety and a bit of a petrol-head and a reasonable car mechanic, I'd also give it a thorough going-over myself, immediately after receiving it.
114  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: June 18, 2014, 04:23:47 AM
@TaoPhoenix: Well, the shirt is one thing - and it makes a pretty definite statement in its own right - but the "champion for the downtrodden" is a little different, because it is something that stems from the context of the American legal system and incentivisation to litigation, which itself is arguably a form of pestilence deliberately unleashed by the Americans.
Thus, to say "...that could change the world..." could arguably really be to say "that could rectify the gross injustices permitted and promulgated by the American legal-political system and inflicting Americans and often people from other nations alike."
115  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ignorance is Strength - Censorship just got VERY real on: June 18, 2014, 12:43:25 AM
Maybe the principle here is something to the effect that "The quicker we all head back into the Dark Ages, the better", and with British Columbia leading the charge what could go wrong?
Mind you, some people (not me, you understand) might suggest that, for a BC court to make the ruling that it apparently has, they are arguably already in the Dark Ages, but I couldn't possibly comment.
116  Special User Sections / What's the Best? / Re: What's the best Journal (Diary) software? on: June 17, 2014, 11:30:38 PM
If you're using Windows, there's actually a very good (rich text format, images, searchable, etc.) built-in journal - Windows Journal, and if you have MS Office (see MS Office 2013 US$9.95 Corporate/Enterprise Home Use Program - Mini-Review) there's arguably the best PIM and journal on the planet - OneNote.
117  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: June 17, 2014, 10:00:19 PM
Another clever T-Shirt parody.
From Philip Morris attacks Marlboro parody, runs into “Web bully’s worst enemy” | Ars Technica

[attach]
118  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Firefox Extensions: Your favorite or most useful on: June 17, 2014, 08:56:08 PM
I have for years used and currently use ScrapBook to capture and search specific web pages. I have a huge library of such captured material.
Quote
ScrapBook
About this Add-on
ScrapBook is a Firefox extension, which helps you to save Web pages and easily manage collections. Key features are lightness, speed, accuracy and multi-language support. Major features are:
* Save Web page
* Save snippet of Web page
* Save Web site
* Organize the collection in the same way as Bookmarks
* Full text search and quick filtering search of the collection
* Editing of the collected Web page
* Text/HTML edit feature resembling Opera's Notes

The reason I have stuck with Scrapbook is that there is nothing else quite like it. However, today I came across this:Chrome extension All Seeing Eye indexes all text in your Web history - CNET, and found in the Chrome Web Store:
Quote
Chrome Web Store - ALL SEEING EYE
Record All Browsing in Screenshots & Full Text. Search For Anything At Any Time. Never Forget Where You Read Something. 100% Private

How to use:
After installing, browse to a few web sites of your choice (e.g. yahoo.com, facebook.com, etc) so that the browser  creates some new entries  in your web history. After that go to Show All History from your browser's History menu
Every time you see a new page while browsing it will be saved as a screenshot and all its contents will be remembered so you can go to Show All History from your browsers History menu and search for things in your web history, with a visual interface that helps you find stuff.

NEW: you may now use tags in the Options tab to tell the extension not to capture certain sites.

What it does:
If you want to remember everything you see on the web and have a way to search your web history with full content then this extension will help you do just that. The normal browser history does not save the text inside the pages you visit so you can't search for anything except the title and URL. This extension saves and indexes all the text in all the pages you visit so you can find everything in your history with a few keystrokes. It also takes screenshots of all pages so you can locate to the right page with visual memory. It makes it easier to find stuff that you've already come across in your browsing, so you don't have to search for it again on the web.

I developed this extension to help me find information I come across much more easily than having to search for it again on the web. If it's in my history, I can find it. This has given me all seeing powers. You can have that power too, dear user.

This extension does NOT send any of your browsing info to the cloud or anywhere. It keeps everything on your machine. It will respect your privacy and not work in Incognito mode, so all your browsing in Incognito mode is never saved.

This extension is Open Source. If you're a developer feel free to examine the code and ask any questions or submit issues directly on Github: https://github.com/idibidiart/AllSeeingEye

Currently, only English is supported for searchable content. Other languages will added in the future.

If this were a FF extension, it would be potentially one of the most useful that I could imagine - with the "missing" functionality that I would like Scrapbook to be capable of, to better meet my peculiar requirements.
119  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Congressman asks NSA to provide metadata for “lost” IRS e-mails on: June 17, 2014, 12:12:47 PM
Very droll: Congressman asks NSA to provide metadata for “lost” IRS e-mails | Ars Technica
120  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Open Dyslexic font on: June 17, 2014, 12:06:42 PM
Seriously useful - OpenDyslexic - Firefox Facts

Ergonomically, serifed fonts were apparently the best fonts for recognition, speed-reading and comprehension.
Maybe the Open Dyslexic font changes that. I wonder how OCR copes with it?
121  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting Academic Blog: Overcoming Bias on: June 15, 2014, 10:23:55 PM
And he does seem to be willfully blind to the level of bias displayed in some of his own core set of 'givens' doesn't he? ...
Yes, I wondered about that too. Maybe it is there as a deliberate challenge for someone to argue against and get a bit of discussion going in the blog comments. He does say he likes argument.

...I always worry a little when these cross-disciplinary types start enthusiastically applying the tools of one discipline to an area they're not specifically designed or intended to he used in. ...
Yes, and then in many cases what happens is they seem to apply those tools incorrectly too - e.g., the abuse of stochastic method by people who have never been trained in it. I reckon a lot of the blame for that can be laid squarely at the feet of SPSS. Suddenly, everybody's a half-baked wannabe statistician using half-baked methods, attempting to "prove" their irrational pet half-baked theories, and correlation becomes causality. Next, they go on to prove that black is white and get killed on a pedestrian crossing...(HHGTTG).

...Regardless, i always appreciate reading a thoughtful unique perspective on things.
Yes, me too, though I much prefer it if I also learn something new from that unique perspective - a good example would be Number Watch:
Quote
Number Watch 
 All about the scares, scams, junk, panics and flummery cooked up by the media, politicians, bureaucrats, so-called scientists and others who try to confuse you with wrong numbers.

Working to combat Math Hysteria.

"It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tost upon the sea: a pleasure to stand in the window of the castle and to see the battle and the adventures thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth ( a hill not to be commanded and where the air is always clear and serene), and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below."
From Of Truth, Francis Bacon.

- it is a site set up by one Professor John Brignell, an engineer and mathematician. The discussion forum is pretty good with some lively rational discussion - and humour.
122  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Antilock-breaking (ABS) vs Stabilty Control (ESP) vs Traction Control Video on: June 15, 2014, 07:10:01 PM
... It wasn't particularly dramatic...I also tried to get it [ABS] to trigger on a regular road, but a hard stop at 35mph did not trigger it -- despite giving me whiplash and throwing baby cody from the back seat to the front seat, and so i gave up on that.
______________________________
It shouldn't be obtrusive ("dramatic") if it is working properly. It's pretty much idiot-proof and doesn't require any special changes to your driving for it to work effectively. Just forget about it.***
Probably too much friction when you were on the dry road, so there would be no wheels locking up. Try it in the rain on the same road when it is wet and you will probably find it engaging. Try braking in the wet whilst you are turning and see what happens.
Then go and ask your insurers for a reduction in your car insurance premiums because, statistically, your chances of having an accident have been reduced by this technology. On the same principle, I was promptly given a 10% discount (after I had asked) by my AA (Automobile Association) Insurers on my annual all-risks car insurance when I passed the Institute of Advanced Motorists driving test (statistically, IAM members have a reduced risk rating - i.e., a lower risk profile).

***Note: But for goodness' sake remember it when you get in to drive a car that has no ABS fitted.
123  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia on: June 15, 2014, 09:58:48 AM
I had recently been thinking "Why the heck don't Microsoft think to make it easier to export their documentation?", after having had to copy copious amounts of their info using the FF add-in ScrapBook.

Surprise!:
Taking TechNet Offline: Build Your Own Personalized Documentation
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Posted on: Jun 11, 2014
by  Ben Hunter

IT pro’s live and breathe information. You need accurate data at your fingertips all the time.  That’s why we are constantly creating new content just for IT pro’s to help you with tasks like Windows Deployment or Planning for App-V 5.0. We publish this information via TechNet Library which is a great resource when you are online but is not so great when not connected to the internet.  Our technical writers and support teams are frequently asked for downloadable versions of documentation from TechNet. Well you are in luck, TechNet has a little-known feature that allows you to create your own custom downloadable documentation from TechNet  with the click of a link.

Every page of the TechNet library has a link up at the top-right of the page that reads “Export.”  Click it and you’ll go here: http://technet.microsoft....en-us/library/export/help. This page explains how to build your own pdf or html document (.mht) from topics you select in the library.  That’s right, you roll up the content you want and download it.

Click the “Start” button and you’ll be taken back to the page you arrived from – the assumption being that’s a topic you want to export.  From there you can select all the topics you want to include in your personalized downloadable file.  Note there is a functional ceiling to the number of pages you can export at 200 topics.

Save your new doc set to any device and you’ll have it when you need it.  It’s that simple!

Nathan Barnett, Technical Writer, Microsoft Corporation
124  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting Academic Blog: Overcoming Bias on: June 15, 2014, 09:45:38 AM
Yes, it is an interesting find.
Generally, I would recommend one looks at what a person's reasoning is in what he/she states in a written form, and the rationale, validity/truth of same.
One does not necessarily have to like the person or the way he/she puts things in order to appreciate their rationale (or lack thereof).
However, if a set of reasoning leads up to and/or supports a statement of belief, then that usually sounds the warning bell for rationalisation. It would be interesting if one found rationalisation in that website.
125  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: June 14, 2014, 10:13:44 PM
^^ Can surveillance be addictive? I hadn't known that.
To be snagged by something addictive - like a drug - one generally needs to have some susceptibility to it, a sort of innate natural dependency - e.g., smoking cigarettes, or alcoholism. Maybe there is something within us - a natural proclivity - to spy upon others. Maybe it is a survival thing - I mean, if one is spying upon others - potential enemies/competitors - then they can't be spying on oneself, and one knows more about them than they know about oneself, so one might have some kind of "powerful" feeling about it. Or maybe it's a form of voyeurism.
The nosy "twitching curtains" syndrome in small communities comes to mind.
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